Gaza rolls out red carpet for film festival
GAZAFilmmakers in the Gaza Strip held a film festival amid the ruins of a neighborhood that was devastated by the worst fighting of last summer’s war with Israel, The Huffington Post has reported.
Eight months after the war, most of Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh district has yet to be rebuilt, but festival organizers bulldozed through the rubble, hauled in massive power cables and grappled with the threat of unexploded weapons lingering from the July-August 2014 conflict.
After all their efforts, they finally rolled out a red carpet for the opening ceremony of the Karama Gaza Film Festival, nestled between the hollow shells of Shujaiyeh’s broken buildings.
Organizers said thousands of Palestinians from all over the Gaza Strip attended the three-day event, which was produced by Gaza production company Lama Film and screened over 20 narrative and documentary films.
Essam al-Hilu, who lost his Shujaiyeh home and 11 brothers during the war, was asked to open the ceremony, but at the final moment became too overwhelmed to say a word, festival organizer Khalil al-Mozayen told The WorldPost.
“Each of the films were about human rights, allowing people in Gaza to know that there are others around the world who suffer like them,” festival organizer Khalil al-Mozayen told The WorldPost by email.
Al-Mozayen, a 50-year-old filmmaker from Gaza City and a director at Lama Film, said he contacted Jordan’s Karama Film Festival about holding a simultaneous event in the Gaza Strip.
With their support, as well as that of other groups including Amnesty International’s Movies that Matter Foundation, they pulled off the first film festival in Gaza since the 2014 war.
“The people of Shujaiyeh still don’t have homes until today, and this festival is a message to everyone to think of them as human beings,” he said. “I want the festival to send a message to the whole world that people of Gaza deserve life, that they love life and seek peace.”